CmdrTaco from the sounds-like-my-chili dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Black holes are thought to form when a star greater than 4 times the mass of the Sun explodes in a supernova and then collapses. The force of this collapse is so great that no known force can stop it. In less massive stars, the collapse cannot overcome so-called neutron degeneracy, the force that stops neutrons from being squashed together. Now a Russian physicist says another effect may be involved. He points out that quantum chromodynamics predicts that when neutrons are squashed together, matter undergoes a phase transition into "subhadronic" matter. This is very different from ordinary matter. In subhadronic form, space is essentially empty. So the phase change creates a sudden reduction in pressure, forcing any ordinary matter in the star to implode into this new vacuum. The result is a massive increase in temperature of this matter that creates a "burning wall" within the supernova. And it is this burning wall that stops the formation of a black hole, not just the degeneracy pressure of neutrons. This should lead to much greater energies inside a supernova than had been thought possible until now. And that's important because it could explain the formation of high energy gamma ray bursts that have long puzzled astrophysicists."
If I were a grave-digger or even a hangman, there are some people I could
work for with a great deal of enjoyment.
-- Douglas Jerrold